In this electronic age, conventional methods of selling music are pretty much over, and bands like The Devil Wears Prada know first hand that fans do not just want to listen to music, but they want to be able to experience it. Music has been revolutionized with the juxtaposition of music and gaming as seen through “Zombie Slay,” and with two consecutive albums to debut in the top ten Billboard charts, there is no surprise that The Devil Wears Prada are paving the road of the future.
I recently spoke with drummer, Daniel Williams, who shed a little light on music, touring, and the multi-media aspect of The Devil Wears Prada.
First off, congratulations on the success of “Dead Throne”. Since you have had two consecutive albums debut in the top 10, do you feel pressure for the next album?
I actually feel a little bit more excited about it now, not so much pressure. I didn’t expect “Dead Throne” to hit the top 10 again. I thought it was a fluke with the “Zombie EP, but it makes me a little bit more excited because I was like “Wow, people are really into this new stuff”, so I think they’ll be excited to see where we go from there.
Do you have an idea of where you’re going to go?
The “Dead Throne” CD was a lot heavier than “With Roots Above and Branches Below”, but it was on the same path as “Zombie”, with a little bit more melody. I think from “Dead Throne” to the next CD we’re going to keep the same elements as far as the aggressiveness, and the heavy guitars. As far as songwriting goes, I’m sure it’ll still progress, and there’s always room to improve.
Do you read the reviews for your albums?
I do actually. They kind of make me nervous sometimes (laughs). It doesn’t matter how many good things people have to say about it, there’s always that one negative thing, or a negative review, and that’s the only one that sticks out. So, I’ll read a thousand reviews, or a thousand comments from fans on Facebook that are like “I love your new record”, but there’s one guy that’s like “I like your old stuff. You guys suck now.” (Laughs)
For anyone who has never heard of Zombie Slay, can you explain the concept?
Yeah. Basically, we just wanted to make a gaming app, and this company named Echo Interaction Group, they were trying to find a band to work with that wanted to do apps, so it worked out. We met up with these guys, and they went through the process, built an app, sent it to us, and we beta tested it. Basically, it’s just a first person shooter swipe game, kind of a mix between the concept of “Veggie Samurai”, or one of the iPhone games where you can swipe to kill things, and you just go through shooting a bunch of zombies, upgrade your weapons, get body armor. You do this through five different levels, and each level plays a different song from our “Zombie EP”.
Do you feel that being creative with video games and other outlets has contributed to your success by keeping you relevant?
I do think it’s important for us to always come up with different ideas other than music, just because with the music industry in general, selling records isn’t really going to do much for our living. So, it’s important for us to figure out different ways that we can connect to the fans, and get our music out there in general, because people aren’t buying CD’s, so we have to get it out through the internet, or through video games, or movies, or whatever it is.
Why do you think people are so fascinated with zombies right now?
(Laughs) I don’t know. If you have an iPhone or iPod, and you go to the game section of the app store, of the top sixty games, twenty seven of them are zombie related. I think maybe everybody wants a zombie apocalypse because it’d be cool to shoot a bunch of zombies.
Are you involved with any other artistic outlets besides video games in the band?
I play drums for a little side-project with friends. Music is my main artistic outlet.
You guys are pretty public about your convictions. Do you feel that that’s hurt you, or helped you?
I’m not sure. Sometimes we’ll play shows, and Mike always says something from the stage about what our band is about and what we stand for, and there’s always people that boo, or flick us off, or whatever, but I don’t think it’s necessarily hurt us as a band, or helped us. I think it’s just with us; it’s part of the band. I think people can still enjoy the music whether they believe the same thing as us, or not, and the people that do believe the same thing can actually tune to the music more, or even the lyrics without connecting to the music. I wouldn’t say that it’s been necessarily a hindrance to our band at all.
Did you guys grow up listening to Christian rock?
I was super into bands that are kind of our peers, but I guess they preceeded us, like Underoath, Norma Jean, and a bunch of Christian hardcore, and metalcore. I was kind of a…”Cornerstone kid” is what we used to call it, because we used to always travel to this big Christian festival called Cornerstone (Laughs).
What is one of the things you miss the most when you’re on the road?
Definitely my friends, and family. It’s really hard to always have to leave friends and family behind when you’re home because you’re going to be gone for two and a half months at a time. When you’re back home, you’re usually home for a week. I think we tour about nine months out of the year so I dont’ get to be home for very long.
What can we expect from The Devil Wears Prada in the future?
I would just say that if you listen to any of our CD’s in order, one to the next, every single CD, you can, in my opinion, hear the progression of our band, because we’re always progressing as individual musicians. There’s always going to be that next step to our band. We’re never going to put out the same CD twice. You can always look forward to heavy, heavy shows, and hopefully a good time.
Are you guys going to have any collaborations with anybody?
I would love to do something with bands like Slipknot, that I’ve always loved, and a bunch of friend bands. On “Dead Throne” we collaborated with Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying which was one of my favorite bands for the longest time. I love As I Lay Dying so that was a huge, awesome shock for me. I would love to do something with Linkin Park, or Slipknot, or whatever, but we’ll see if that ever happens. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Do you know of any other bands you might tour with in the future?
We have some plans to tour in Europe very shortly, and I do believe we’re maybe doing South America at some point, hopefully very shortly, next year, but I’m not exactly sure with what bands yet. Check out deadthrone.com and we’ll always be putting up our dates on there.
You can see The Devil Wears Prada in Orlando, Florida at the House of Blues on December 4th, along with special guests: White Chapel, Enter Shikari and For Today.
Visit: www.houseofblues.com for ticket information.